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DUI checkpoints are controversial, to say the least. In fact, several states have decided they are unconstitutional and do not allow police to use them as a means of finding and deterring drunk drivers. However, Tennessee law enforcement uses sobriety checkpoints and apparently finds them useful for more than DUI arrests. A recent report shows that drunk driving makes up only a small portion of the offenses charged at these checkpoints.

Over 3,000 drivers were stopped at the 10 checkpoints instituted over the past year. Among those, only seven were arrested for DUI. However, about 130 people were arrested or ticketed for other offenses. Registration violations and equipment malfunctions made up about 70 of those charges, and many who received citations or were placed under arrest questioned whether police were acting within the scope of law.

Without reasonable suspicion, police cannot pull drivers over to check their registrations or search their cars for contraband, and many feel this should extend to drunk driving. While the U.S. Supreme Court has said the checkpoints are valid if performed properly, some feel it will not be long before the constitutionality of this method of arresting drunk drivers will be challenged again. Nevertheless, law enforcement insists that sobriety checkpoints accomplish the goal of deterring people from driving drunk.

Tennessee is among the strictest states for dealing with drunk drivers. Unlike some states where a first-time DUI is little more than a traffic ticket, in this state, a drunk driving conviction may result in fines, mandatory substance abuse programs, lengthy license suspension and even prison. Even a first offense may carry these stiff penalties. Facing such charges without the help of a dedicated attorney may put a driver's future at risk. An attorney will provide a strong defense and fight for the best possible outcome, given the circumstances.

Source: wjhl.com, "Thousands stopped, just seven arrested for DUI at checkpoints", Nate Morabito, April 28, 2017

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